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Manga Translation Pioneer Toren Smith Passes Away

posted on by Egan Loo
Helped bring first manga titles to English audiences; co-founded AnimeCon

Writer James Hudnall reported and ANN confirmed that Toren V. Smith, one of the earliest English translators of manga, passed away on March 4.

Smith has been involved in manga and anime since before 1986, when he organized the first major convention room for anime at BayCon in California. He worked at Viz Communications in its first year before translating The Legend of Kamui, one of the first manga ever translated into English, in 1988.

Smith then founded Studio Proteus, the outfit which collaborated to bring such titles as Appleseed, Outlanders, Lone Wolf and Cub, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and Astro Boy to North America. Studio Proteus once said that he co-translated over 23,000 pages of manga. Since Haruka Takachiho's Dirty Pair novels did not have manga in Japan, he and Adam Warren created Dirty Pair comics in English. Smith later sold Studio Proteus to publisher Dark Horse Comics in 2004.

Smith, Gainax co-founder Toshio Okada, John McLaughlin, and others created AnimeCon 1991, the predecessor to Anime Expo. Gainax paid homage to Smith by naming the character Smith Toren in its Aim for the Top! Gunbuster anime in his honor.

Update: Date corrected.

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